I think we can all agree to the fact that storage capacity needs increase every day especially as long as people get faster internet connections allowing them to download huge chunks of data from the Internet in surprisingly small periods of time. Luckily all the leading HDD manufacturers have released several 4TB hard disk drive models during the last year including mainstream models targeted towards casual users and gamers, high end models aimed at enthusiasts and of course enterprise class models for professionals. Unfortunately although we have that variety in standalone internal hard disk drives the same doesn’t apply in external hard disk drives since for that purpose most manufacturers choose to use their mainstream models to keep the cost down. G-Technology by HGST (Former Hitachi GST) is amongst the very few companies that not only uses the high end and enterprise class models HGST has to offer but they also use some of the highest quality and performance external HDD enclosures we've seen to date and the latest USB 3.0 compatible version of the G-DRIVE is no exception.
G-Technology storage solutions are engineered specifically to meet the needs of the content creation and Apple Mac communities, including heavy users of multimedia content, Final Cut Pro® and Adobe® Premiere® Pro audio/video specialists, and other pre/post production professionals. From portable drives to ultra-fast, multi-drive RAID storage, G-Technology’s USB, FireWire, eSATA, SAS and wireless storage solutions support virtually all levels of A/V production and can be found in post-production facilities worldwide. HGST (formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies or Hitachi GST), a Western Digital company (NASDAQ: WDC), develops advanced hard disk drives, enterprise class solid state drives, innovative external storage solutions and services used to store, preserve and manage the world’s most valued data. Founded by the pioneers of hard drives, HGST provides high value storage for a broad range of market segments, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Personal Storage. HGST was established in 2003 and maintains its U.S. headquarters in San Jose, California. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.hgst.com.
Some of you may recall that i did have the G-DRIVE 2TB USB 2.0-eSATA-FW400/800 model on my test bench roughly 3 years ago which i still use on a daily basis without a single issue, at least not to date. Back then when designing the G-DRIVE G-Technology decided to house an HGST Deskstar 7K2000 SATA II HDD inside an fully aluminum enclosure which kept the drive at extremely low temperatures even during heavy use. So naturally when HGST announced the upcoming 4TB USB 3.0 compatible version a few months ago i was very curious to see just how it would perform compared to all the other USB 3.0 compatible external 3.5" HDD enclosures we've tested so far. Needless to say we were not disappointed one bit.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
The G-DRIVE is shipped inside a medium sized box with an product picture at the front, drive capacity, G-Tech logo and all the available interfaces.
The contents of the box, compatible OS and unit specifications are placed at the right side of the box.
At the left side we once again see the available interfaces, 3 years warranty and a few words showcasing just how much data you can fit per 100GB.
Two pictures of the unit along with a performance chart and its main features written in 8 languages can be seen at the rear.
An extension of the box keeps the cables in a separate compartment than the G-DRIVE.
Inside the box you will find the G-DRIVE itself, quick install guide, user's manual, AC power supply adapter with 3 different plugs (universal), USB 3.0 cable, FireWire 800 cable and a FireWire 800 to 400 cable.
THE G-DRIVE 4TB
Just like its predecessor the new G-DRIVE is also designed to blend with MAC systems and yes its aluminum body still looks great.
The fascia of the unit is perforated and in the middle we see the G-Technology logo and a small white activity LED right beneath it.
The enclosure is also perforated on both sides to allow hot air to exit the enclosure.
Moving at the rear we find a Kensington lock, USB 3.0, FireWire 800 (400 compatible with the provided cable), DC in port and an On/Off power switch.
The unit sits on of 4 small round rubber feet and in the middle we see the integrated heatsink that measures 10cm in length and 6cm in width.
All of the interface cables are placed beneath a thin metal plate.
For the G-DRIVE HGST used their high end Deskstar 7K4000 SATA III hard disk drive.
Complicating things is not really our way so once again our testing procedure will be almost identical to the one we use with 2.5" external drives and 2.5"/3.5" external docking stations. Naturally we will also be comparing the product at hand with a wide range of 3.5" external drives and standalone 3.5" enclosures (all of which were benched using the Constellation ES.2 SATA III 3TB hard disk drive). Our standard selection of benchmark suites is used here as well for both single and RAID 0 testing and includes all the latest and stable versions of HD Tach RW (Long Bench 32mb Zones), HD Tune Pro (read/write -when possible- speeds), Sisoftware Sandra Pro (Read/Write -also when possible- speeds), AIDA64 (Linear Read/Random Read), Crystal Disk Mark x64 (100MB/1000MB read/write speeds) and finally the quite outdated yet still highly reliable ATTO 2.46 (Max Read/Max Write speeds). Temps as usual were recorded using the latest version of Hard Disk Sentinel along with the sensors provided by AIDA64. Every test was repeated for a total of 6 times and after that the average (not peak) performance numbers were recorded into our graphs. As always every test was performed in a fresh installation of Microsoft Windows 7 Service Pack 1 with every update installed up to January 26th 2013.
TEST RESULTS - AIDA 64 / ATTO
TEST RESULTS - HD TACH RW / HD TUNE PRO
TEST RESULTS - SISOFTWARE SANDRA PRO / CRYSTAL DISK MARK X64
TEST RESULTS – TEMPERATURES
Much like its predecessor (USB 2.0 model) the latest USB 3.0 compatible G-DRIVE had no problem outperforming the competition and in some cases even with a performance gap of up to 32%. Now i agree that G-Technology may not be amongst the most popular storage related brand names in the market (at least not currently) but that mostly applies to casual users, gamers and enthusiasts since virtually every professional I’ve asked in the past only had the best things to say about them and why not when they make some of the finest (quality-wise) and fastest (as proven time and again) external HDD enclosures in the market? On top of that let's not forget that G-Technology is a subsidiary of HGST and we all know that their drives aside being extremely fast also have a near perfect track record across the globe so what more can one ask from an external HDD?
G-Technology designs and manufacturers external HDD enclosures aimed at professionals who require the highest quality and data transfer speeds so they really don't come cheap. More specifically as we speak the G-DRIVE 4TB USB 3.0 Professional External Drive retails at around USD330 inside the USA (Amazon) and 330Euros inside the EU so you pretty much get what you pay for and that is a superb quality enclosure paired with super-fast USB 3.0/FW400/FW800 connectivity and an high end HDD with a huge capacity like the Deskstar 7k4000 SATA III 4TB. Of course i would like to see an Ultrastar 7K4000 inside the G-DRIVE but that would increase the cost a lot and for an external HDD you don't really need the extreme quality of an enterprise class HDD. Naturally because of all of the above the G-DRIVE 4TB USB 3.0 Professional External Drive by G-Technology walks away with our Platinum award.
- Superior Build Quality (Aluminum Enclosure/Deskstar 7K4000)
- Excellent Performance
- Low Temperatures (Aluminum Perforated Body/Integrated Heatsink)
- Connectivity (USB 3.0/FW400/FW800)
- Capacity (4TB)
- 3 Years Warranty
- Price (For Some)